Luki finds the first Orchids!

Luki is one of Hvar's happiest dogs, and one of Hvar's greatest nature-lovers. On March 15th, he sniffed out early orchids not far from Vrboska. 

Orchids, 15th March 2020. Orchids, 15th March 2020. Photo: Ivica Drinković

Luki's always on the lookout for nice flowers, and early March is a prime time for humble flowers to start showing their colours. Having spotted the discreet iris tuberosa plants on his walks, he also revelled in a wildflower meadow awash with wild anenomes on March 6th.

Luki with wildflowers, Photo: Ivica Drinković

On March 8th, he decided the perfect gift for the ladies on International Women's Day would be wild asparagus - cooking it would give them something to do!

Luki with his crop of wild asparagus. Photo: Ivica Drinković

Then on March 15th he had his first orchid sightings of the year.

Ophrys liburnica. Photo: Ivica Drinković

Once again orchid enthusiast Frank Verhart very kindly identified it for us: "I would assume this is Ophrys liburnica considering this is one of the earliest taxa. One photo shows tall plants fully flowering halfway in March. This alone almost excludes other taxa. When I passed by Vbroska in 2015 I observed that this was one of the commoner species around there. Ophrys liburnica was described in 2004 and would previously be considered the regular Ophrys sphegodes (Early spider-orchid) that occurs north up to England (Cliffs of Dover). Page 63 in Golubic book Orhideje Dalmacije."

Ophrys liburnica. Photo: Ivica Drinković

Writing as the Covid-19 pandemic grips Europe and puts a stop on all normal social and most commercial activities, Frank is saddened by the damage humans are doing to the planet, and the general lack of concern for nature and wildlife. He is not alone. In towns and cities the situation is close to unbearable for many. On Hvar, the crisis has affected the population, but to a lesser degree so far, as there is more space and people are fewer. The island is particularly proud of the way Health Minister Dr. Vili Beroš, native of Jelsa, has handled the crisis, bringing in logical (and strict) control mechanisms, and maintaining calm while being totally realistic and open about the inevitable spread of the disease. During the 1991-1995 'Homeland War', Dr. Beroš, then a young neurosurgeon, showed the same qualities of dedication and humanity to the mass of seriously ill and wounded patients being treated at the Sestre Milosrdnice Hospital in Zagreb. His appointment as Health Minister came at just the right time, as he has certainly saved Croatia from some of the worst effects of Covid-19, even though it cannot be stopped in its tracks.

Luki enjoying the high life! Photo: Ivica Drinković

Give or take the occasional violent storm, the early part of 2020 on Hvar has been mainly benign, providing a calm atmosphere to counteract any panic arising as the pandemic has edged closer. The sun has been shining and the island's springtime beauty is steadily unfolding. Luki has been exploring swathes of Hvar's countryside, playing with his best friends and companions Špiro and Đuro as well as pointing out Nature's great gifts.

Luki by Hvar's pond, temporarily a 'lake'. Photo: Ivica Drinković

This period of the year can be the time to see Hvar at its best, as Luki is well aware!

Luki looking over Sveta Nedelja. Photo: Ivica Drinković

The stones on Hvar's hillsides stand out in sharp relief.

Stony beauty. Photo: Ivica Drinković

Hvar's sea views take some beating. Luki takes life in his stride and accepts each day as it comes, but maybe, just maybe he's wishing and hoping that his summertime swimming sessions will be on the programme very soon!

Adriatic bliss. Photo: Ivica Drtinković

We are extremely grateful to Luki and his two-legged 'pet parent' Ivica for sharing their happy moments with us and the rest of the world. Luki's happy smile brightens the darkest day, and it owes much to the kindness and care that Ivica bestowed on him from the moment he rescued him from his life on a chain.

Luki, happiest dog. Photo: Ivica Drinković

Text © Vivian Grisogono MA(Oxon), March 2020.

 

  

 

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    Max Marcovitch is a staff writer at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates. Also, please consider supporting our critical work

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